What is Direct Access Physical Therapy?
Simply stated, Direct Access is the opportunity to obtain Physical Therapy services without a physician’s referral (or prescription). This places physical therapy as a first line of service profession (along with MD’s, DO’s, Chiropractors, Dentists…)
What does this mean for you?
- Immediate evaluation, diagnosis and treatment from your Physical Therapist for your musculoskeletal injuries without the delay in visiting another health care professional
- Immediate consultation with your Physical Therapist to determine if therapy is needed or if further examination by another health care practitioner is warranted
- The possibility of decreased healing time for your injury due to receiving treatment without delay
- Freedom to choose a Physical Therapist as you would an MD, DO, Chiropractor, Dentist or other health care professional
- Continuity of care as you return to your chosen Physical Therapist for all of your musculoskeletal needs, including relief from injury as well as prevention of further injury and wellness in general
What injuries/concerns would prompt you to call a Physical Therapist?
- Headache, neck and back pain
- Joint pain (shoulder, knee, hip, foot, ankle)
- Any injury due to a fall or trauma • Poor posture
- Jaw pain/TMJ
- Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis
- Premature aging and decreased muscle tone
- Decreased ability to walk/general decreased mobility
- Poor balance
- Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
- Pain/decreased mobility/decreased strength due to obesity
- Fatigue/poor endurance due to pulmonary dysfunction
- Poor endurance due to cancer and related treatments
Does insurance pay for Direct Access Physical Therapy?
Presently, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, Health America/Health Assurance, Erie, Auto Claims and other third party reimbursers will pay for Physical Therapy services rendered under direct access. Medicare is not paying for Direct Access Physical Therapy at this time. There is currently a bill in congress to allow Direct Access Physical Therapy with Medicare. If you feel strongly about having this option with Medicare, please write to your congressman. Self-pay is always an option as well.